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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-01-2013 01:16 PM

I used to feel that way, but it's gotten easier and easier the more I NIP. I can say that I have never had anyone stare or make a rude/inappropriate comment. Mostly people don't even seem to notice or if they do, they smile and walk on by. I have a list of comebacks in my head for the day when someone says something nasty but fortunately I've never had to use them. LOL

11-12-2013 10:25 AM

The thing about pervy people watching you is that they are actually there, all the time, everywhere, but we don't notice unless we're breastfeeding.  It's a sad reality of our existence that women are treated like sex objects a lot of the time, but if we're wearing a short skirt and heels, being objectified seems normal, even flattering.  It's when we're in a place of specifically not wanting to be treated that way, such as being on a dark street at night, or breastfeeding our baby, that the attention starts to feel creepy.  The problem is the people who chose to look at a woman that way, not the woman herself. 

I decided that I wouldn't let someone else's pervy inclinations change the way I dress, act, walk, live etc. a long time ago, and I'm certainly not going to let someone else influence my nursing relationship due to their lack of insight and evolution.  I wear a nursing tank and tshirt for my own comfort, not that of others.

Breastfeeding *is* a feminist issue.

11-12-2013 07:12 AM

PP, A scarf is a great idea!


I don't NIP much, but I've come to appreciate a cover, as well as easily accessible clothes.  Yes, a cover screams nursing mom -- more so than simply being discreet. But if I want to promote breastfeeding, than it may as well scream it.  Plus, I don't have to be exposed.  I have a really fast flow, so my babes pull of a lot.  I find a strap around my neck with a rigid section in it allow better airflow and a view of my baby.  

10-18-2013 07:10 PM
gr8teful I too found it embarrassing at first. It isn't as easy as it would seem to discretely feed a baby, especially if they let go often to look around:-) Traveling alone with my son on multiple flights got me over it. There was just no way to be bashful and my son's comfort trumped that of myself and my fellow passengers.I just fed him as much as he liked. So many people commented about what a great traveler he was and how quiet he was during the flights.
I want to add one thing about our perception of people staring. That may be our own insecurity and not that the onlooker is necessarily judging us. I caught myself staring at a young mother who happened to be nursing in public a couple of days ago. I didn't intend to make her uncomfortable.I just got caught in my own memories of nursing my son and probably didn't look away as fast as I should have.
I nursed my son for 15 months. I am really proud of that and was also ready to stop. It was a huge gift for me to be able to do it and it went by so fast!
10-05-2013 06:43 AM
Originally Posted by LilyKay View Post

And honestly, breastfeeding in public is good practice for all the embarrassing things that will happen in public: crying, throwing tantrums, throwing up... after a (very short) while, I just stopped worrying what other people thought, there was simply no time/energy left for that luxury smile.gif
Yes, very much!! I feel like since becoming a mom, I simply don't have the time/energy to worry about what strangers think. What matters is what my kids think smile.gif
10-05-2013 05:48 AM

I think it might be more difficult to nurse in the ergo if the breast on the smaller side but I wouldn't let that stop me trying! I nursed in the ergo from 2 (or 3) months onward. Basically, I'd pull my boob out (size E or D at the time) and literally put it in the direction of DD's mouth. It was winter so I had a jacket on top of the ergo so you couldn't see anything from the side, and I'd put up the cover attached to the ergo so no one can see anything from the top. Babies don't have to be in a horizontal position to nurse, they can nurse sort of lying vertically on you. 


As to feeling exposed, I agree with the OP, I really did not like feeling my boob hanging out there. What I did is I either had scarf around my neck that I used to cover the cleavage or a small burp cloth. That way the upper part of my breast is covered but not my baby's head. 


And honestly, breastfeeding in public is good practice for all the embarrassing things that will happen in public: crying, throwing tantrums, throwing up... after a (very short) while, I just stopped worrying what other people thought, there was simply no time/energy left for that luxury :)

10-04-2013 06:12 PM

I've nursed in the ergo, but it's awkward--probably depends on the height of your baby, but I had to take one strap off my shoulder and lift my boob up and tilt the babe to the side...not the most comfortable for me. I've had MUCH more success nursing in a sling. Actually ran around LA while we were visiting, was able to nurse even when we were rushing around! The sling that worked for me is called a "Over the shoulder baby holder"! It even came with instructions on different positions to use and which one works best for nursing. I was super thankful for that.

Also wanted to share this video, it's awesome. Spoken word defense of public breastfeeding. "Embarrassed" by Hollie McNish

10-03-2013 12:44 PM
filamentary i have been guilty of accidentally sorta staring (well, i think perhaps seeming like it): i am noticing the cute little momma/baby-in-sling duo, not really aware they're breastfeeding, then i will suddenly notice there's a big swath of exposed flesh (oh! they're breastfeeding! shit, i bet they thought i was gawking! look away, but not too abruptly! awww, what's wrong with me?) b/c i have strong, unabashed feelings that breastfeeding is super important and should be supported in all ways, including (especially?) that breastfeeding in public is given priority over some people's unfortunate discomfort. i'm righteous & indignant & outraged by any suggestions that breastfeeding whenever & wherever baby needs it should be discouraged for any reason. but then i find myself also trapped in the messy cultural hangups. i'd like to believe that it's 100% altruistic that i try to avert my eyes – just in case they are feeling uncomfortable, i want to spare them the unwanted attention. but i'd be lying if i didn't admit there's some shyness/awkwardness i myself am experiencing – not inherent in seeing someone breastfeed, but in possibly appearing to be staring, like that makes me voyeuristic. what i wish i felt was total lack of any awareness of the possibility of discomfort for either of us. but, alas, i am not totally immune to the cultural stuff. so i totally relate to the OP's feeling of not having your ideal mindset match with your in-the-moment reaction.

i was surprised to see from the responses here that many of you were pleased to receive positive feedback. i usually feel like it would be arrogant and presumptuous of me to think anyone cares to hear my approval or congratulations – and that this would do the opposite of normalize breastfeeding in public, by making it stand out as cool or exceptional instead of everyday, run-of-the-mill mammalian feeding (which is basically what i think it should be!) so i never, ever comment. i generally have mixed feelings about verbally engaging people in public who may be exhausted (that i'm forcing them to socialize) so i generally just tend to equate keeping quiet with respecting their privacy. so if you've ever noticed the awkward, young, tattooed, dykey-looking chick seeming to almost be staring but then look away, i would say attribute to that encounter the very best of motives, as it was probably me or someone like me, who totally supports you but wants to leave you alone to shop in peace. and now that i'm about to become a parent, i extra notice babies everywhere i go (i hear this is a thing, and not an actual increase in the number of babies present in public – just my noticing). and so now, on top of all that, i'm actually curious about things like what type of sling they're using, how it's fastened/tied, how baby is situated, whether they're intentionally bouncing around for baby's benefit, or just moving how they need to move to do their shopping activity, so i might actually be looking for a few moments to take mental note of those things, and that's when i'll notice, oh, they're breastfeeding!
09-16-2013 08:35 PM

Try to find some local groups where people breastfeed openly. LLL, AP groups, baby wearing groups, etc...I think it helps a lot to see other mothers do it with ease and without embarrassment and it's kind of contagious.

09-16-2013 06:58 PM
squiggles I just ordered an ergo tonight and am sooo excited to see if i can figure out nursing in it!! smile.gif
09-16-2013 02:38 PM

Just wanted to add my 2 cents: :wink  When DS1 was born, I felt embarrassed at first, too.  Then I realized that if someone is offended by seeing a breast do what a breast was designed to do - nurture our babies - then maybe they need to see more of it, and maybe I'm just the girl to give them the opportunity!  I've seen many people who smiled supportively when they saw what I was doing. I would just smile sweetly and pat my baby's back if anyone gave me a cross look, and they'd usually just look away real quick. No one ever said anything, but if they had, I'd have been happy to educate them on the health benefits of nursing on demand, and the laws that protect a woman's right to breastfeed anywhere she and her baby have a right to be.


I figured out how to use the burp cloth draped over my shoulder & top of my breast as a discreet cover (in that position, it's functional in many ways) - none of mine would ever tolerate being fully covered with a wrap or blanket, besides, I think it looks even more conspicuous than a baby just snuggling up to mom's breast. Like a big neon sign saying "HELLO! TITTIES HERE!!"  When baby wiggles, just pull the burp cloth down a couple inches and hold the baby over your boob.


Creative wardrobe choices are good, like nursing tanks or really stretchy cami tops under a cardigan, zippered hoodie, button-down shirt, etc. Lots of nursing tanks have a built-in bra, which is awesome! You just have to find what works for you, and practice discreetly un-doing and re-doing your clothes one-handed (ok, and with a wriggling 10 lb weight in the other hand).


The Ergo Baby carrier is the most amazing thing for NIP: wear in the front-wearing position, baby facing you...loosen the straps enough to let baby's face down by your boobies, and snap up the hood. Nobody can see anything, except a little on the side, which I remedied by pulling my sweater under the strap on that side. I've nursed that way while pushing the cart around the grocery store, with one happy baby!


I found the best way to remedy being nervous about NIP is simply to do it! The more you do it, the more efficient at it and comfortable you will become. Good luck!

09-16-2013 01:04 PM
mama amie When mine were under 3 months, I would often use the ergo for supporting their bottoms while in a cradle hold position. It was mostly for coverage. But once they were old enough to latch on belly-to-belly, I wore them the intended way. I also used pouch slings and ring slings for nursing/wearing regularly. The ring sling was nice, since the excess fabric could be pulled over as a nursing cover.
09-16-2013 12:59 PM
Actiasluna I'm still confused with how to nurse in the Ergo. I have really small breasts (I think A/B-ish cup) and I just don't get how to situate him in the ergo to nurse! Is it easier with an older baby (mine is almost 9 weeks)?

Skycheattraffic, good for you. I can't imagine not having family support, that would make it so much harder to establish a good breastfeeding relationship.
09-15-2013 07:04 PM

My breasts were huge when I was nursing (seriously porn star huge).  I was uncomfortable NIP at first since DS did not like the cover and liked to pop on and off a lot.  Eventually, I just stopped caring if other people saw my breasts.  DH and I had been together 12 yrs by then, and I honestly did not care who saw what after a while (sleep deprivation is a great tool for determining what is really important).  I once stopped and nursed in the patio furniture section of Sears, a male store employee very nicely informed me that the mall had breastfeeding rooms, but they were on the other side of the mall, so I kindly informed him DS would be done before we got there and I thought feeding him here was less likely to cause a ruckus than walking through the mall feeding him.


By the time I had DD, I was not at all concerned about who saw what where.  Just know that what you are feeling is common, many moms are uncomfy NIP at first, it will get better.  I was always more open nursing in front of strangers than people I saw on a regular basis.

09-15-2013 06:46 PM
skycheattraffic I'm a plus size mom with large breasts and felt self conscious with my first. We had issues and I worked very hard to establish a strong nursing relationship and after 10 weeks of EPing, once she finally latched well, I simply thought "screw it. I earned to hold my head up high and feed my child naturally and without embarrassment." I just started NIP and kept at it. She nursed to 2, when my supply tanked halfway through my second pregnancy and she stopped. I'm now nursing my 7 week old younger DD and despite recently losing the support of my in laws and my brother being an immature jerk about it, I nurse anytime and anywhere proudly. I don't care if some pervert stares or some older woman thinks I'm indecent/immodest. I care that my girls see a strong mother and good role model who does what she believes is right. I care that my sweet girls grow up seeing nursing as a natural part of having babies. I nurse in public so that other kids can see a baby eating naturally and it becomes the norm, not the oddity. I guess in a way I'm nursing in public so my girls won't even have to think about it when they have my grand babies <3
09-15-2013 01:05 PM
TMozdagreat My fear comes from people seeing my breasts. I know that I have a right to feed my baby where and when I please but I also have a right to modesty. My breasts are huge!! Easily an F or G. I just hate them and don't know a way around exposing myself if and when I feed my baby in public. He is 4 weeks but already over 11 lbs. and over 24" long. Bulky baby. The nursing cover is a last resort. Usually I feed him in the car.
09-13-2013 12:18 PM
mama amie Just know that most men aren't that pervy. I know I get noticed a lot, and I just make eye contact, politely smile, and go about my business- as if I just looked up from a book I was reading. Simple, polite, and unconcerned. I feel that this approach almost always gets a quick polite nod or smile, then the fella goes about his business. No biggie. I have had maybe 2 instances of sexually charged comment ( "lucky kid", or "I'm jealous", or what have you) in all 5 years of daily NIP.
09-12-2013 07:08 PM
Lulu0910 For me the idea that a man is looking at me sexually while I'm bf grosses me out. Its like part of me wants to scream "I'm feeding my baby jerk!!!!!" That in a nutshell is the core of why I'm uncomfortable.
09-12-2013 01:21 PM
aolive10 Easier said than done of course. Lol
09-12-2013 01:19 PM
aolive10 Sometimes I wonder if people (esp. men) are making it obvious that they are looking because they know we aren't making an effort to cover up. Like we're being promiscuous or are looking for attention or something. They're just ignorant and gross.

I find myself feeling super defensive sometimes and am surprised by nice looks or comments, which makes me feel reassured for a little while.

Just remember that we are in the minority and its gonna be tough but its worth it. We have to be confident in our decision to nurse our babies and hopefully give other ladies the confidence to do it too. joy.gif
09-12-2013 01:02 PM
squiggles I think ppl in general stare because they just arent used to seeing it. Sadly it doesnt seem to be the norm anymore (tho i think that is changing again). In my almost 30 years of life i have only actually seen one woman bf and that was someone who brings her kids to my story time programs. I still havent worked up the nerve to nip lol.
09-12-2013 10:22 AM
Lulu0910 Thank you mamazee!!! Curious if anyone has similar or worst experiences? Women don't stare like men do. I don't know if its just there and they can't help it?? What do you think?
09-12-2013 09:46 AM
mamazee Bummer about the creepy guy greensad.gif But I promise it will get easier to breastfeed in public the more you do it! And yay for getting through it!
09-12-2013 07:23 AM
Lulu0910 An update over the weekend we went on a roadtrip. My options were to bf in a very hot car or on a somewhat discreet bench. The thought of my baby starving kinda trumped my own insecurity. Though a creepy guy kept hanging around I did it anyway. Guess for me it depends on the area.
09-11-2013 10:06 PM
mama amie While I find it ridiculous that society tends to cause a lot of discomfort around NIP, your feelings are NOT ridiculous. It took quite a bit of nursing to get me feeling fully entitled and appropriate to do so.

One thing that helped me greatly was discovering that there are laws in place in my state to protect the rights of nursing moms. That really helped me to feel more comfort, knowing I am legally in the right. No one could legally tell me to stop or leave or be more discreet.

My kids fought hard against any coverage, and insisted mostly on my pulling my breast over whatever top I have on. Luckily, it's by far the easiest way to nurse, but does offer most breast exposure. I've just learned to wear only soft sport bras (the barely there type) and v-neck tops. When needed, I just pull out a boob and feed.

My favorite tool for nursing in public is my Ergo carrier. It makes it super easy to nude comfortably and hands-free. And the little head cover is the only coverage my kids have accepted. It is just enough to allow kids to see out but not be glaringly obvious to passers-by.

It takes mental energy, but just push through it. You'll probably find the positive attention (or happily discreet nods to what you are doing) far outnumber any negativity you might encounter.
09-11-2013 10:01 PM
aolive10 I agree that continuing to just do it in the way that you are most comfortable doing it is the best way. Sometimes you'll have to grit your teeth through it. You don't want to give yourself heat stroke just to avoid a few strangers' awkward glances. And the older your baby gets the better you two will be at it.

That being said my 20 month old will still pop off my boob and run for it occasionally, momentarily revealing my nipple to the world before I can cover up in time. Ah, nursing crazy toddlers. redface.gif
09-11-2013 09:32 PM
lilblueberry There's no other food source! I nursed walking down the street yesterday bc my dd was "going horizontal" and wanting to nurse. I'm sure I should be embarrassed....but I will prob never see those ppl again!
09-11-2013 07:08 AM
sageowl Good tip about bringing a friend...that's one thing I lack...all my friends bottle feed. Doesn't phase me, but I always wonder if its strange for them.
09-11-2013 06:55 AM
mamazee It is something to get used to but I agree with the PP that if you practice in front of a mirror, you'll see how it looks and learn to do it discretely and gain confidence that it isn't anything shocking. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. Also, if you have a friend who nurses as well, go out together because it feels less scary when there's a friend there in the same situation.

It feels weird at first but you really do get used to it! smile.gif
09-11-2013 06:48 AM
sageowl It does get easier. Practice in front of a mirror a few times and eventually you'll just look like you're just holding a baby...nothing to see here. I also tend to sit in the back of whatever area I'm in so people have to go out of their way to watch. The hardest part is latching on, so if I can, I usually turn my back on people for that bit.
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